182 professors indicted for violating copyright

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182 professors indicted for violating copyright

More than 150 university professors who published major textbooks as their own by modifying and repackaging the covers of previously published textbooks were brought to court on Monday.

One hundred and eighty-two university professors from 110 universities were charged with violating copyright law and business obstruction, according to the Uijeongbu District Prosecutors’ Office.

Among them, 105 professors were summarily indicted and each was fined 10 million won ($8,450), while 74 professors were indicted without detention. Indictments for the remaining defendants were suspended because they are currently studying or working abroad.

Five executives and staff members from the four publishing companies who collaborated with the professors were also indicted without detention.

If found guilty, the professors will no longer be allowed to work at a university level.

The defendants said they repackaged the books to boost their research credentials in order to gain reemployment and higher salaries. In Korea, professors who have published textbooks can receive higher marks in their reemployment evaluations.

By changing the original authors’ cover designs, adding their names and adding several words to the original book titles, the books were made to look new and republished.

Thirty-eight natural science or engineering textbook covers were replaced and the books republished.

According to prosecutors, these books are published only in limited numbers and are exclusively sold in university bookstores, unlike major humanities or social studies textbooks, which can easily be found in general book stores.

“The incident took place because the professors were trying to get more points in their evaluations, the publishing companies wanted to dispose of book stock and the original authors wanted to receive royalties, so they could [all potentially] benefit from this plan,” an official from the prosecutors’ office said. “We’ll hand in the list of professors to each university and form an investigation team to track additional research breaches.”

BY CHOI MO-RAN [koo.yurim@joongang.co.kr]
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